Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY LEAH AN­DER­SON-BYRNE LAn­der­son­Byrne@ne­me­

THE AFL grand fi­nal is fi­nally here and Satur­day will see which bird of prey will rule the roost for the next 12 months. Myrtle­ford’s Jack Crisp (left) is ex­pected to play a piv­otal role in the clash while Bright’s Ben Reid (ban­ner) is an out­side chance of mak­ing the team to coun­ter­act the tall tim­ber of West Coast Ea­gles. Story in to­day’s sport. On a lo­cal level West Coast fans (pic­tured) Tim Long­man and Matt Lau­rence will have their own bat­tle for brag­ging rights with co-worker and Colling­wood sup­porter Adrian Speziale.

I’ve learnt to not be too over con­fi­dent in Wan­garatta. I am calm, a lit­tle ner­vous, but calm.


Footy fans in Wan­garatta are feel­ing the ex­cite­ment sur­round­ing this Satur­day’s AFL grand fi­nal as the Mag­pies and Ea­gles pre­pare to face off.

Both in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses around town are dec­o­rat­ing their sheds and of­fices with team colours, and some are work­ing along­side sup­port­ers of the ri­val team.

West Coast fan Glenn Kealy has been liv­ing in Wan­garatta for 20 years, but is orig­i­nally from Western Aus­tralia, where he played for his lo­cal footy team which was spon­sored by some of the orig­i­nal West Coast play­ers.

“I’ve been a sup­porter since 1987 and be­ing a part of the cel­e­bra­tions in 1992 and 1994 was amaz­ing, it re­ally brought the com­mu­nity to­gether,” he said.

“My shrine is just a bit of fun where my mates will col­lect bits from sec­ond hand shops and cheap stores to add to it.

“Hav­ing these footy gath­er­ings in my shed has re­ally cre­ated great friend­ships and some ex­cel­lent ban­ter between mates.”

Glenn was given his fa­ther’s Ea­gles jer­sey when he passed away a few years ago, and it has been a great, sen­ti­men­tal ad­di­tion to the shrine.

De­spite be­ing a fa­nat­i­cal sup­porter of his team, he is keep­ing his hopes for a win very low-key.

“I’ve learnt to not be too over con­fi­dent in Wan­garatta,” he said.

“I am calm, a lit­tle ner­vous, but calm.”

Other lo­cals who aren’t keep­ing their con­fi­dence too calm are McDon­ald’s man­age­ment staff and avid West Coast Ea­gles fans Tim Long­man and Matt Lau­rence.

The pair has been fly­ing their team’s colours around the of­fice this week, much to the dis­like of Mag­pies sup­porter and co­worker Adrian Speziale.

Op­er­a­tions su­per­vi­sor Tim is fol­low­ing in his fa­ther’s sup­port of the team and also proudly stated that the ea­gle is the big­ger bird.

“I’m pretty sure an ea­gle can pick up a small goat, so I’m sure it can pick up a mag­pie,” he said.

“I def­i­nitely am look­ing for­ward to a win on the week­end.”

Gen­eral man­ager Matt Lau­rence said he chose his team as a child, when he de­cided he liked the colours.

“As a kid I just re­ally liked the colours and now I’ve been sup­port­ing the team for 19 years,” he said.

“None of my fam­ily bar­rack for a team so I had to find my own, and I def­i­nitely have high hopes for them.”

Busi­ness man­ager Adrian Speziale, who is all alone in his sup­port for Colling­wood, said his fa­ther didn’t let him con­sider an­other team.

“It was def­i­nitely a fam­ily in­flu­ence,” he said.

“I was born in Syd­ney so I wanted to go for the Swans but when I was about five Dad told me I had to go for the Mag­pies or he’d kick me out of the house so I didn’t re­ally have a choice.

“I’ve been try­ing to get tick­ets to the game but no luck so far, I’d say I have high hopes; you don’t get into a grand fi­nal for noth­ing.”



PHOTO: Mel Guy

GET READY: West Coast sup­porter Glenn Kealy with daugh­ter Jemima are ready to watch the big match this Satur­day.

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